Back in March Steve Roth gave speech at Columbia's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. The Observer quoted the following:
Mr. Roth, who bought Alexander's in large part for its real estate holdings, offered his take on his reticence to build, and why he let the site sit empty for so long:
The New York newspapers, he complained, said "I couldn't make a decision; I didn't know what I wanted to do.
"Bullshit. I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted the price to go up. A lot. And I was willing to wait because I had almost no basis in the land."
There was another plus to waiting, he noted, offering a refreshingly candid developer's take on one way to pursue government subsidies:
"My mother called me and said [of the site], 'It's dirty. There are bums sleeping in the sidewalks of this now closed, decrepit building. They're urinating in the corners. It's terrible. You have to fix it.'
"And what did I do? Nothing.
"Why did I do nothing? Because I was thinking in my own awkward way, that the more the building was a blight, the more the governments would want this to be redeveloped; the more help they would give us when the time came.
"And they did."
The city is obviously being played for a fool, and yet they still play into his hands.